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The waiting game

Another GP practice hands back contract amid pressures

Another GP practice has handed back its contract to NHS England, citing impossible workload demands that were ‘like climbing the Everest summit’.

Patients of the Bedford Square Medical Centre received letters from NHS England warning them their practice would close at the end of September, saying that it was ‘no longer suitable or sustainable as a GP practice’.

But Dr Dunia Al-Naemi, the only partner in the practice, said NHS England had ‘no interest’ in saving small single-handed practices.

She told the Camden New Journal: ‘Unfortunately, the NHS is falling apart due to shortage of funding, and this has reflected negatively on the morale of the profession. General practice now is increasingly dispiriting and has changed dramatically in the last few years.’

‘The current changes within the NHS are the ever-increasing demands, more meetings, more paperwork, which is like climbing the Everest summit, longer hours of work but less time for my patients as we are overstretched beyond our limits.’

She added: ‘The current climate is no more small surgeries as they cost the NHS a lot of money. The idea is to have mega-surgeries and in my view the small family practice will vanish in few years’ time. It will become like going to a big supermarket.’

The closure further highlights the strain placed personally on GPs, with Dr Al-Naemi saying she felt the workload left her ‘heading for burnout’.

She said: ‘We hear on the news that many doctors are retiring early, leaving the partnership, emigrating, and more surgeries are closing down. All I want to say to my patients is that I love you all and you will be staying in my heart and mind. I hope you forgive me for this as it was beyond my capability, and wish you the very best from the bottom of my heart.’

A patient of the surgery for 34 years wrote anonymously on the NHS Choices website: ‘We always received exemplary services from the current GP, the current nurse and the long serving practice manager. We’ve now joined another practice but were sorry to have to leave and we’d like to thank the GP and all the staff for the service they have provided for us over the years. We wish them all well in whatever they do next.’

A spokesperson for NHS England’s London area team said: ‘When Dr Al-Naemi informed us of her decision to resign in April 2014, we wrote to all patients on her behalf asking for their views on how they would like to receive GP services in the future. Their feedback was taken into account when making the decision to close the practice, along with a number of other factors such as the fact that the premises are no longer suitable or sustainable as a GP practice,’.

‘Throughout this process, our priority has been ensuring patients have access to high quality GP services, and that any disruption is kept to a minimum. We apologies for any inconvenience caused.’

Pulse has identified more than 100 practices across the country at imminent risk of closure via the ‘Stop Practice Closures’ campaign is calling on GPs to support them in petitioning for urgent funding to keep practices afloat.

Readers' comments (5)

  • Vinci Ho

    Life goes on and you must not blame yourself . Shame to all those hypocrites and bureaucrats who are helping this shameless government to destroy general practice and NHS
    Live long and prosper ......

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    So we used to be able to stand up for ourselves. Why can't the BMA ballot us again?
    (Notice the different tone of the mail)

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  • NHSE ..''..we wrote to all patients on her behalf asking for their views on how they would like to receive GP services in the future. Their feedback was taken into account when making the decision to close the practice,''
    NHSE and NHS Trusts give a damn to patient opinion.
    With hands in his pocket and legs stretched as he eased himself into the chair in the meeting room in the presence of LMC members and NHS Trust officials, a Comminssioner sneered at me as they attempted to close my Practice --

    ''You are finished Dr Juneja, you are finished'' .
    Then he turned towards to the smiling NHS Offical and grinned - 'Your watch me mate'

    When the LMC Doctor/representative asked him about the result of the patient survery they had done, he replied - 'I don't care what patients say'
    I picked up on this and asked him twice more reminding him that he had spent public money doing a survey and that as a Commissioner he was responsible for the care of patients. The response was an emphatic -'I don't have to listen to patients'
    Hate to say that people like these who behave like gangsters occupy senior positions in NHSE and all this stupid talk of 'consulting with patients' is mere eyewash and a farce.

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  • Interesting whether the premesis were unsuitable for a long time or "coincided" with the resignation of the GP.

    We have a 2 practices in a NHS propert services owned building and have applied for funds. The PCT agreed that it was not fit for purpose and £ X million was earmarked for development of the same. We met with the architects who advised on the changes to make it fir for purpose. Soon the local NHHS property services personnel took over and declared it fit for purpose and hence no money to repair same.
    Most so called third world countries have better buildings for health provision.

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  • @10:46: Unfortunately, the tentacles of the former PCT hydra has engulfed the Property services too so you can't expect rational behaviour from any side.

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